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Sate. Image courtesy of the artist.

The Black Indie Artist You Need to Listen to This Month: SATE

You need to hear SATE.

This new series will feature the most exciting independent and alternative artists from Africa and its diaspora. Black artists are complex and multidisciplinary. Twice a month, we'll introduce the hottest, boldest musicians out there that you need to listen to.

When she was a child, SATE's mother, the legendary jazz singer Salome Bey, used to put her on stage as soon as she could carry a tune. This is how Sate's musical career started and she hasn't stopped since.

Born Saidah Baba Talibah, the artist changed her name to SATE as a way to separate her onstage persona from the person she is in her everyday life. SATE was born out of desire to be more raw, vulnerable and confusing at the same time.


It would be unrealistic, despite her confidence and energy on stage, to believe that SATE is not affected by a lack of representation in a scene that is still overwhelmingly white and male. She recalls that every time she's on stage, "people feel the need to feel shock that I—a black woman—like and do rock music. It's funny most times, and then it's just hella frustrating."

At some point, SATE even wondered whether she truly deserved to perform as a rock act and if she really did belong to this world. Thankfully, she remembered, "the foundations and inspirations that are Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Big Mama Thornton... and I'm part of our ongoing legacy. So I keep walking through the fire in spite of the challenges."

The Toronto-based musician and singer's music is a savvy mix of rock and funk. Growing up, she was very much inspired by her mother and the diversity of music she'd come across while developing her own personal influences like Funkadelic, Fishbone, Living Color, Stevie Wonder and Prince.

SATE is not afraid of taking risks and being vulnerable. In her song "Mama Talk to Me," which she holds dear to her heart, she opens up about the changes in her life following her mother's decision to retire in 2011, and the pain of losing her to dementia and seeing a loved one not being themselves anymore.

"Mama Talk To Me" is featured on her first album, Red Black and Blue, released in 2016 after a PledgeMusic campaign, in which musicians use crowdfunding to raise money for their releases. The twist was that the public had a say in the songs selected, a process that SATE was completely fine with it. After all, they contributed to the piece. She even donated part of the money to a a charity dealing with alzheimer's disease and dementia.

The album's concept is divided in three parts, each one representing animals: the robin (which symbolizes renewal ), the panther (power), and the butterfly (transformation). Red Black and Blue is both SATE's birth and Saidah Baba Talibah's death, an album that starts with endings but yet, is the first of many more to come.

SATE is a artist who hates being told what she should do. She's punk in the purest sense of the world and she encourages her audience, through songs like "Warrior," to set fire what to what holds them down and take their own power back. Unsurprisingly, her songwriting process is just as free as she is: "It depends. Sometimes I'm coming in with a melody idea or I may just sit at the piano. I really let it flow, cause when it's forced it's no fun."

She's currently back to songwriting after a successful first European tour last summer where she played in the UK and France, her second home, as she calls it.

SATE is hungry. Hungry to give more of her music to the world, to empower her audience and to communicate her feelings, thoughts and experiences through her songs, to start a revolution.

What's next is her upcoming album The Fool. Eight songs have already been picked and, following the reception of her previous crowdfunding campaign, she has decided to share her recording process again by showing the whole production process on social media.

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(From left to right) Stéphane Bak and Marc Zinga in 'The Mercy of the Jungle.' Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Congolese Actor Stéphane Bak on His Intense Experience Shooting 'The Mercy of the Jungle' In Uganda

We catch up with the actor after the film made its North American premiere at TIFF.

When actor Stéphane Bak first got the script for The Mercy of the Jungle (La Miséricorde de la Jungle), he knew there was one person he had to consult: his father. "My dad did school me about this," he says. While Bak was born and raised in France, his parents had emigrated from what was then Zaire in the 1980s—before the events of the movie, and not exactly in the same area, but close enough to be able to pass on firsthand knowledge of the simmering ethnic tensions that underpin the action.

The story takes place in 1998, just after the outbreak of the Second Congo War—which came hot on the heels of the First Congo War. Two Rwandan soldiers find themselves separated from their company and have to make a harrowing trek through the jungle to link back up with their regiment. Bak plays Private Faustin, the young recruit hunting Hutu rebels to avenge his murdered family, a foil to Marc Zinga's seasoned Sergeant Xavier. As a Congolese militia swarms the area, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell enemies from friends, the two are forced off the road and into the thick vegetation.

Their journey is physically difficult, but the jungle also nurtures them, providing food, water, and shelter. "The title is very explicit in a way," says Bak. It is the human beings they encounter, from rival soldiers and militiamen to the hostile security forces guarding illegal gold mining operations, who bring sudden danger and violence. The challenges are conveyed as much through the actors' physicality as through the minimal dialogue. As for the strain on his face, Bak says it was all real. "To be honest, it was very difficult," he says of the shoot, which took him 25 days. "I had to learn my accent in two weeks." Prior to commencing, there was training with the Ugandan army for realism. Due to the ongoing conflicts in the DRC, the movie itself was shot in Uganda.

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Brazil Has Made Yoruba an Official Language

The language will also be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum in the country, says the Minister of Culture.

Yoruba history and culture has an undeniably strong presence in Brazilian society, due of course, to the Transatlantic slave trade which brought millions of enslaved West Africans to the Americas. Despite the inhumanity they faced, many managed to keep their ancestral culture and traditions alive.

Centuries have passed, and Yoruba influences still continue to thrive in various regions of the country, as many Brazilians maintain a strong relationship with the language and religion. Its influence can be seen through the music, food and spiritual practices of various communities. Last month the Ooni of Ife—the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people—visited the country, where he was met by crowds of Black Brazilians who turned up to pay their respects.

This connection will likely remain strong for future generations, as the language has now become an official foreign language in the country.

WATCH: How Ilê Aiyê Brought Blackness Back to Carnival

Brazil's Minister of Culture, Dr. Sérgio Sá Leitão, has said that the language will now be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum, reports the Nigerian Voice.

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This EP Blends the Afro-Brazilian Rhythms of Bahia With Bass Music

Get into Telefunksoul and Felipe Pomar's Ré_Con Ba$$ EP.

Brazilian producers Felipe Pomar (of TrapFunk & Alivio) and Telefunksoul come through with a dizzyingly energetic EP in the form of Ré_Con Ba$$.

Telefunksoul, who happens to be one of the main promoters of Bahia Bass music, came up with the concept of exploring the rhythms coming out of Recôncavo of Bahia and showing how they can fit into bass music.

Through the 7-track Ré_Con Ba$$ EP, him and Pomar mold and transform the diverse music of Bahia, fusing its rhythms with afrobeat, future house, deep house and much more.

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